Date: Thursday August 15, 2019 at 2:56pm
for agreeing to speak with NCNB today…You served many years in the Military.
What Regiment did you serve with and for how long?
I was with the Royal Welsh. It
was a mix of TA and regular service over 12 years, and three tours.
you want to join the Military?
I just felt that I had to do it.
It was a calling, rather than a career. I couldn’t think of doing anything else
other than being an infantry soldier.
back on your Military career, can you give us a brief overview of your time
I joined the TA in 2000 while I
was studying A-Levels and kept at it when I went to university. Back then I
wanted to be an officer, but when Iraq kicked off in 2003, I decided that I
would rather choose the experience of an enlisted person. I asked to be mobilised
and went on Op Telic 9 to Iraq. I liked being there and stayed on for Op Telic
10, where I was a dismount commander in a Warrior AFV. I asked for a third tour
but this time I was told to go home. I de-mobbed, then went back on an FTRS
contract so that I could get out to Afghanistan with 2 Royal Welsh.
I tried to
do back to back tours again but was told ‘No’. Instead I went to recce platoon,
then a PTI cadre. I loved that work, but in 2011 I felt like it was time to
leave. I tried going back to the TA when I returned to my hometown, but I
didn’t enjoy it like I had done when I was younger, and so I asked to be
discharged in 2012.
is nothing unusual to the Armed Forces, deploying to places that your normal
person would not go to. What is the most memorable place you have travelled and
Afghanistan. As well as having
the most intense moments of my life there - good and bad - the scenery was
stark and beautiful, and the sunsets were breath-taking.
advice or tips would you give out to Service Leavers when leaving the Military?
Don’t get into debt before you
leave, because getting out of it when you don’t have a guaranteed roof over
your head and a steady wage is a lot harder. Don’t expect the military to care
about you once you leave. Keep in contact with comrades. Work on yourself
before and after you leave; educationally, physically, and mentally.
else is going to do it for you. If you don’t get up for work, you won’t have an
NCO come get you - you’ll just get sacked. If you don’t go for a run, you won’t
get an extra duty - you’ll just get fat and sick. You see where I’m going with
this. The buck stops with you.
bravely spoken out about PTSD and written an incredible book about your
journey. What advice would you give to anyone suffering with PTSD?
Talk. It doesn’t matter to who,
but just start talking. It could even be to yourself, by writing it on a scrap
of paper. Just start getting things out of your head. The worst thing to
do is to bottle everything up. Even if you don’t think you’re worth other
people’s time and help, ask yourself this; did people risk their lives for you
in the service just for you to give up now? You owe it to them to get help,
even if you don’t think you deserve it yourself.
been through a lot and turned your life around completely, who and what has had
the biggest impact on your life?
I don’t think I’ve turned my life
around completely. I have a lot of work to do on myself, and I think that the
moment you think you have your life together is the moment it will fall apart -
complacency kills. The biggest impact on my life has probably been realising
book was to be made into a film, who would you chose to play your role?
My brother. He’s the same
age that I was in Afghanistan, and if he does a bad job, I can hit him!
keeps Geraint Jones motivated?
One day I’ll be dead.
something about Geraint Jones that no one will know!?
I’m a pretty open book and I
don’t have any total secrets, but a lot of people don’t know that I’ve DJ’d at
some big clubs.
so much for taking the time to talk with us, any final words or wisdom you
would like to share with the Armed Forces Community for 2019?
Just remember that you have a
responsibility to improve yourself. You owe it to the people that you served
with. That doesn’t mean be hard on yourself. Enjoy the process. The people
I see who are the most invested in self-development are also the ones who are
the most happy and fulfilled. Good luck.